UTG CRISIS- A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING
In recent days, The University of The Gambia (UTG) has been in the news once again after a temporary lull. The disgruntled Staff Association is cross over University Management purchase of cars when priority should be for pressing university requirements. Management however responded in a publication “Putting the Records Straight”, that they acted within the confines of the law. According to them, their action is in conformity with the civil service financial procedures and with approval of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), the official body that vets and approve government departments’ purchases.
We have discovered that at least they, the university administrators, are telling the truth. Our investigation revealed that the whole process started about two years ago, that is one and a half years before the coming of the current Vice Chancellor. The fact of the matter is whether the purchase of these cars for the university is worth this entire hullabaloo. More issues are important at the university, such as low academic standards, conflicting grading system, student transportation, etc. that the Staff Association needs to champion in the first place rather than entangling themselves with this matter.
While there might be some merit in the call for better priorities of UTG, history reminds us that there has been a worst scenario of miss management and corrupt practices by former Vice Chancellor Mohammadou M.O. Kah during the Jammeh era. President Jammeh undisputedly did all he could to shield Kah and all his cohort from public censor hence they gleefully went scotch free as with the unspeakable impunity, which must be urgently revisited as Kah must be made accountable for all his actions. We all are aware that nobody raised a heck at UTG except the gallant Gumbo Touray, whose patriotic outcry landed him under arrest, in court and near imprisonment, only for his lucky vindication by a court of law. Gumbo and his associates are heroes in the old regime, who dared speak out when others were tight lips; hence, they are worth remembering under by the new dispensation as vanguards of a better UTG.
The purpose of this article is to alert the general public and the Barrow administration in particular to be very cautious and wary of this present crisis, lest be warned that the self styled Professor Kah is excessively ambitious to return to UTG to continue his infinite looting spree.
From the information we are in possession of by privilege, the self-styled professor has been in town lobbying for the position of minister of Higher Education. It is indeed sad that the Barrow administration should give a man of his sort an ear, going by the unsavoury precedent he set before being flushed out of office. Members of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Force are aware of the underground activities Kah and his cohorts have been engaged in to undermine the present UTG administration. A senior police officer at Buckle street Police Headquarters confirms that they are in possession of credible evidence linking Muhammadou M.O. Kah with the present crisis at the university. The information should receive serious attention for two reasons. (1) No university worth its salt will allow a top member of staff to be away from his duty post for over two consecutive months. This adds considerable credence to the information circulating on Radio Kankan that Kah is an unemployed ex-Vice Chancellor. His duty at Azerbaijan is to recruit students for the University of Baku on commission basis. He bears the title of Dean of Information Technology nominally. This will enable him to command some influence in deceiving gullible students to enrol at the private university. Hence, he desperately needs a job especially since the university has resumed, he has to wait until the beginning of another academic year to earn some commission if he is able to find easy to fleece students.
(2) The information is not a matter to be treated with levity, as the students’ crisis of 2001 will be a child’s play compared to the one being concocted at the university by job seekers in the university. It is no gainsay that since the inception of the new political dispensation, job seekers, both at home and from abroad, have bombarded government with innumerable impossible requests. The plain truth is that the available jobs cannot go round hence; some will have to go empty-handed. For obvious reasons, government should have no option but shun Kah with the impunity he deserves.
Since he could not get the position of Higher Education Minister, we understand, he ensured that his friend Mr. Badara Joof is appointed. Badara Joof is a friend of Kah. He taught Kah at Nusrat High. Joof was a Literature and English Language teacher at the school from 1990s until around 1992. After himself, B.M.K. Njie, and one Mr. Sanneh now principal of Marina International School wrote a book on the history of the PPP, he came to limelight before he was absorbed into public service.
In the year 2010, Kah unilaterally abolished the university Access program. All the registered students in the program were denied admission except the son of Badara Joof who did not qualify to pursue a degree program at the UTG. On the instruction of Kah, the boy got admission to pursue a degree program. The university admission officer, Aminata Njie, effected the backyard admission; she should reveal the role she played under investigation. That was how the boy got on board without satisfying admission requirements. Kah unilaterally abolished the University Access Program in 2010; the record is there for everyone to see. If any of the students of that cohort other than Badara Joof’s son gained admission, the reader of this article should disregard it completely as a pack of malicious lies.
This same Badara Joof is now the Minister of Higher Education!
Kah’s strategy is a straightforward one. Kah is in town waiting for Badara Joof to assume office in about two weeks from now in order for him to facilitate his employment as Vice Chancellor. As part of his groundwork, three days ago, the self-styled professor, Muhammadou Kah called Ansumana Bojang, the Student’s Union president on phone inviting him to his house for an undisclosed reason. However, the latter turned down the invitation with abominable insolence.
In addition, the strategy includes using his boys at the university to make the place ungovernable, so that when the probationary period of the current vice chancellor expires at the end of this month, he will automatically be a choice candidate for the position as the university is embroiled in crisis. Consequently, he is using three key figures at the university, namely Pierre Gomez, so called Assistant Professor Fanneh, and Mr. Ismaila Ceesay to promote his agenda by causing mayhem.
Ismaila Ceesay who calls himself a Doctor came to the university in 2010. Within some months as a cadet lecturer, with the assistance of Pierre Gomez, Kah approved a study leave package with pay for him to proceed to Edinburgh to pursue a doctoral degree program in African Studies. However, he never got the degree. If he has the degree, he should explain why he has not submitted it to his employers who will consequently upgrade his status. From what we are hearing through the bush telegram in the accounts section of the university, he is not earning the salary of a PhD degree holder. He is still on his old pay. It is indeed alarming that a mediocre who could not defend a doctoral degree thesis is now the one parading himself as a doctor at the University of the Gambia.
Ceesay and Pierre Gomez are Kah’s stool pidgins when he (Kah) confiscated two university vehicles, UTG 1 and UTG 1A; that was after he was kicked out of office. Ceesay and Gomez did not complain about it as, probably from their point of view its part of the booty of war he fought with students and Gumbo Touray. The vehicles are still in possession of Kah until this day. He claimed without any iota of proof that the President gave him the vehicles as a gift. However, the President of a sane republic has no right, be it constitutional or unconstitutional, to give away public property. Besides, Kah provided no proof whatsoever to back up his claim. If the vehicles were in the university vehicle pool, at least it would have reduced the number of new vehicles purchased by two; that would have saved a lot of money. The Gambia is the only country in the world where a man of Kah’s calibre can confidently confiscate university vehicles and get away with comfortable impunity.
Critically, we are of the opinion that Kah, who stole two university vehicles, should be the target, not the current administration. Pierre Gomez and Ismaila Ceesay should attack Kah, instead of the administration who implemented a decision that Council approved and in strict compliance with GPPA regulations.
They, the so-called ‘Pact of Influential Lecturers’ have of late recommended the dismissal of some members of the university administration for reasons they could not substantiate. It is repugnant to reason, to call a spade a spade, for a mediocre of Pierre Gomez calibre to suggest the sacking of a fellow Gambian from office. He has an eye on the position of Professor Nyang from the look of things, going by his utterances during one of the meetings of the purported Staff Association. Nyang is a professor whose academic credibility is way above board. He has been a target of Kah because there is a family feud between them over a woman, an issue we will not divulge. It is true that he heads the Medical School and his office as Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic concurrently. The cause is circumstantial as suitable replacement for the Medical School is not available for now. Besides, to attain the professorial rank at UTG, one need a minimum of twelve peer-reviewed articles, a ladder he Gomez has not started climbing as he is still on the ground, not even on the first rung of the ladder. Therefore, He is grossly unsuitable to occupy any of the positions. He is unquestionably having an exaggerated sense of his importance. Foremost, his (Gomez) English, both oral and written, is way below average; not up to scratch for a man parading the academic qualifications he is claiming to hold. Besides, he calls himself a Professor of Comparative Literature yet he speaks fractured English. He slurs very badly while speaking English, a mark of his grammatical inadequacies; a characteristic not associated with him while speaking Manjago. Worst of all, he has no peer review journal article publication to his credit, the only internationally recognized parameter for assessing university lecturers. Instead of dedicating himself to the fierce pursuit of knowledge through scholarship, he is busy plagiarising other people’s works, which he publish through roadside publishers. If he is worth his salt as Professor of Comparative Literature, he should prove it with just only one peer review article. Only the God of Israel knows how he attained his professorial status! If not for Abdou Karim Camara (Sierra Leonean Lecturer in English) who dose his proofreading and compositions in English language for him, his nakedness would have been made public long ago.
He is also not qualified for the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration because the present occupant Dr. Momodu Jaine has some peer reviewed Journal articles to his credit, unlike Gomez.
It is on record that he Gomez reported Late Boro Susu to President Jammeh; an action that led to the dismissal of the latter from the university. Borro Suso committed no offense. He simply vied for a position with Pierre Gomez and defeated him comprehensively; that is for the post of Director of International Affairs at UTG. For that reason, he reported the late gentleman to the President for being a suspected sympathizer of an opposition political party, that led to his dismissal from the university.
That apart, he Gomez is a well identified turncoat. His friend Mr. Sabally of GRTS gave him, Pierre Gomez, some time ago a television slot where he justified the July 22 revolution. He has all along been a staunch supporter of the decedent Jammeh administration. Through the action of government agents and Muhammadou M.O. Kah he actively participated in disorganising the university to their advantage. Apart from the aforementioned case of Late Boro Suso, he orchestrated the dismissal of Kanji Drammeh, Madam Almeda, Yesupha Dibba (the statistician), etc. from the university.
He Gomez is dishonest and incompetent. He seems to have forgotten that his name appeared in an audit report during Kah maladministration for fraudulent practices related to Par Diem. Since he starts heading the School of Arts and Sciences, over one thousand students grades over the years are missing, results simply classed as missing grades, a development he has never explained to anyone. He should explain the issues on Radio Kankan concerning the manipulations of students’ grades a affair which explains the issue of missing grades. During a convocation ceremony at Faraba Banta, he dishonestly presented a journal article written by a Nigerian Sociology lecturer called Charles Bebere to collect a sum of Thirty Thousand Dalasis from President Jammeh as Chancellor of the university, a glaring case of academic fraud, as he never authored the article. This is simply an indication that inherently, he Pierre Gomez long attained an advanced stage of moral decay. To crown it all, he is in the habit of claiming victimisation by asserting that they are fighting him because of his Christian faith. One wonders if he is the only Christian at UTG. If he is at par with his academic contemporaries in other parts of the world, he should go abroad to compete his equals rather than fomenting trouble to enable him satisfy his inordinate ambition. He must realise that the decadent system of things he has been feeding on since the days of Kah is over.
He should remember that he presented two copies of his plagiarized books to President Jammeh as a gift to curry favour, to be considered for the post of Vice Chancellor. This was after Kah was flushed out and he used the occasion to present a letter of thanks to President Jammeh in which he castigated Kah and his administration of the university. Lastly, he is the one who has been clamouring for the change of the name of Armitage High School, in line with what was in vogue during Jammeh’s era. The letter he wrote to the then Secretary General and Head of Service is still in the file in the State House. All these and many more evidence shows beyond all reasonable doubt that he is nothing but a turncoat scrambling for favour and undeserved recognition as the present era in The Gambia is that of job seekers.
The case of the so-called Assistant Professor Fanneh is academically as pathetic as that of Pierre Gomez. These academic vagabonds, including Ismaila Ceesay have no peer reviewed journal articles to their credit. Fundamentally, the post of Assistant Professor does not exist in UTG conditions of service. The rank is a unilateral creation of the self-styled Professor Muhammadou M.O. Kah who employed him without council approval, neither was his application ever considered by the appointment and promotions committee.
It is on record that Kah handpicked Pierre Gomez as Head of School, in contravention of normal standard procedures and UTG regulations as enshrined in the conditions of service. He, through family connections approved Ismaila Ceesay’s study leave with pay. He unilaterally employed Fanneh in contravention of regulation. Therefore, it is not amazing that he is using them to foment mayhem at UTG to enable him stage a comeback.
In view of these facts, who are they to recommend the sack of any person, let alone those of fellow Gambians? In fairness to the Vice Chancellor from Pakistan, no act of impropriety is so far associated with him. If there were kickbacks involved in the purchase of the vehicles, the so-called pact of influential lecturers should come up with proof, either rational or empirical in nature to substantiate their claim. If they have proofs that the prices of the cars were inflated, they should come forward with it as soon as possible to enable the law to take its course. They deserve to be used as examples, for all and sundry to witness under the new dispensation. Corruption as we all know can take diverse dimensions so the accusers should please let the world know their conceptual definition of the word as from what we have seem so far, we cannot perceive any.
The students are emphatically saying that their demands are at last receiving attention. According to them, more seats are now available to the various campuses. Ceiling fans are already in classrooms. The dysfunctional toilets especially at Brikama have received adequate attention. However, they still wish to have laboratories. Taking cognizance of the fact that the present administration is just six months old, we are of the view that more has been achieved as Kah refused to be an achiever, rather he was a destroyer and treasury looter who connived with his so called wife Mrs. Jainaba Jallow of MDI in bedroom administration of UTG.
The purchase of the vehicles, in our opinion has no trace of corruption in the transaction. Among those asking the head of the administrators, if there is any that is cleaner, let him cast the first stone.
Kah must never come back to UTG or else UTG will suffer irreparable damage and worst crisis ever. News is around town that Kah’s good timing to return home now to the Gambia is to provoke this crisis so that he will be the next Vice Chancellor in good pretext on the face of the current crises. Let the concerned authorities and this new government please take note of this warning and investigate if our assertions are erroneous.
The UTG crisis and UTG problems in general deserve a deeper understanding and investigation, including the Kah’s past administration, by a neutral Commission in order to have a lasting solution and forward direction for the university. In the absence of a judicial commission of inquiry by impartial investigators, the country still has a hard road to travel.
By nature, it is true that the memory of man is very short. We attach a copy of the court verdict of the case of Gumbo Touray vs. The Inspector General of Police. The essence is to rekindle the memory of all members of the public of how and what led to the indictment of the self-styled professor as a morally barren and bankrupt fellow. This is essential for as a nation, for too long we have trust the opinions of those that are devoid of intelligence.
We are also using the medium to call on all well-meaning fellow citizens both at home and abroad to mount pressure on the government to put Munammadou M.O. Kah on trial as recommended by the learned magistrate who passed the landmark judgement attached below.
In addition, to sanitize the university, it is worth finding out the number of lecturers who are parading fake university degrees, as Mr. Ismaila Ceesay is certainly not alone. There are at least three more; one is claiming to be a doctor, while in fact he was at no time enrolled as a doctorial candidate at any university. Another claiming to hold a masters degree, our investigation reveals, only completed his first degree in an American university. The other who is in the administration is an outright counterfeit employed by Kah from the States. Ironically, they are revered members of society.
There are talks that one of the so-called influential lecturers is contemplating contesting the forth-coming parliamentary elections as an independent candidate. We will not mention his name yet, as we want to authenticate certain information that is still a rumour. The lecturer’s house has been a meeting ground for students who are interested in his partisan politics. Additionally, he is in league with a female member of the Coalition Team. All the names will be divulged when we conclude our investigations.
Lastly, our research revealed that the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police have done their work professionally; it is up to government to invoke its political will to salvage the university from the grip of Muhammadou M.O. Kah by collaborating with the police.
We attached the two documents attached below to add credence to our determination to stop the scallywags at the university from actualising Kah’s reappointment as Vice Chancellor. Any Gambian who is close to President Adama Barrow and any of the Coalition members should mount pressure on them, in his/her effort to salvage the educational system of the nation. Such inestimable effort is part of national sacrifice.
More documents to be published later.